Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Deliberate Rebellion

Jeremiah 7:17-34

“Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?  The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.  Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?” (Jeremiah 7:17-19)

The Jews were like children deliberately being bad to show their disrespect for their parents or teachers.  The young ones who don’t really understand are set to gathering firewood for their Dads to build a sacrificial fire and their mothers to prepare sacrifices to other gods, including the queen of heaven, deliberately to upset God.   while such behavior by their children may be infuriating to the parents, the actions reveals the immaturity and lack of judgment of the children will one day have to deal with the consequences of their actions.  The same was true for the Jews.  Frustrating as it might be for God, they were the ones who would have to pay for their actions. 
“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.” (Jeremiah 7:20)

A wise parent will chastise their children for deliberate disrespect and disobedience, and God is a wise father.  He’s going to take action against their behavior, burning everything in the land so that everyone suffers for their part. 

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.  For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” (Jeremiah 7:21-23)

The Jews had decided they could just go ahead and commit sin and as long as they offered the burnt offerings to God he would ignore their sin.  He said they just as well offer those burnt offerings to the other gods or eat themselves.   God wasn’t even interested in the sacrifices themselves. He was interested in whether they would do what he asked them to.  His promise had been that if they would obey him, recognizing Him as their God, he would bless them and everything would turn out well. 

“But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.  Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.  Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee.  But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.” (Jeremiah 7:24-28)

From the time they left the land of Egypt, God had sent his prophets to remind the people what God required, but the people ignored instructions and commandments, Stubbornly doing as they pleased, and becoming increasingly rebellious.  God is sending Jeremiah to warn them again, knowing they are not going to listen.  He was to warn them that because they refused to obey or pay attention to his correction, they no longer knew what was right or benefited from it.

“Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.  For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.  And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.” (Jeremiah 7:29-31)

Under the laws of the Nazarite vow, if a person broke the conditions, he was to shave his head and start over.  This is the concept here of acknowledging they had broken their covenant with God and were sorry.  They were willing to start over and do what was right because what they were doing was unacceptable.  They had set idols inside the Temple itself, and had reestablished the worship of Molech, offering their own children as sacrifices at the altar of Tophet in the valley of Hinnom, though God had forbidden them to do so. 

“Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.  And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.  Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.” (Jeremiah 7:32-34)

The name Tophet comes from a word meaning contempt.  By sacrificing their children to get their way, they were showing their contempt for God by destroying the children he gave them, just as abortions do today.  When he judges them they will no longer demonstrate their contempt for God there.  Instead, it will be called the place of slaughter because the Lord will cause so many to die there that there isn’t even enough space for all of them to be buried there.   Scavengers will consume the bodies because there is no place to bury them and not enough people left to do the job, or even to fend them off.   When Babylon defeated Israel the third time this prophecy was fulfilled.  The battle of Armageddon will result in a similar destruction of the Antichrist’s army in the valley of Megiddo, as described in Revelation 19:17-21.

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